Guide to the James Ahern Papers

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5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Guide to the James Ahern Papers 1975/1988

Special Collections & University Archives

Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: James Ahern Papers
Dates: 1975-1988
Identification: MS-0058
Creator: Ahern, James Thomas, -1988
Physical Description: 3.42 linear ft
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Biographical Information:

James Ahern was a criminal investigator for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. While researching the background of the District Attorney's Office, he ran across some information about John B. Magruder, a Confederate general during the US Civil War. Magruder fascinated Ahern, who was initially interested in his exploits around San Diego, where he served on frontier duty prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.
Ahern ultimately decided to write a biography for Magruder which covered his entire life, from his birth in Port Royal, Virginia in 1807 to his death in Houston, Texas in 1871. He completed his notes and planned to write the biography following his retirement in January of 1988. He passed away on February 9th of that year, and so the book was never completed.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Corporate Name:

Confederate States of America. Army. Trans-Mississippi Dept.

Genre/Form of Material:

Organizational Records
Personal Papers

Personal Name:

Magruder, John Bankhead, 1807-1871.
Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 1832-1867

Topical Term:

Mexican-American War, 1846-1848
Seven Days' Battles, 1862

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, folder title, box number, James Ahern Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Scope and Contents

The James Ahern Papers document James Ahern's research and writing process as he worked on a book about John Bankhead Magruder (1807-1871), a lieutenant-colonel in the Mexican-American War, general in the Provisional Confederate Army during the US Civil War, and general in the Imperial Mexican Army.  Ahern's research covered the full span of Magruder's life including his birth and early life in Virginia, his years fighting in the Mexican-American War in Florida, his years on frontier duty in California and Kansas, his role in the Battle of Yorktown, the Seven Days Battles, and the Battle of Galveston as a Confederate general during the US Civil War, and his later years in Mexico.   The collection consists of research material including photocopies of  manuscripts on deposit in numerous repositories as well as notes and index cards compiled by Ahern throughout his research.  Also included is Ahern's unpublished manuscript about Macgruder, which is broken into chapters and filed with supporting research material.

Detailed List of Contents

Box 1, Folder 1


Box 1, Folder 2


Box 1, Folder 3

In Los Angeles

Box 1, Folder 4

Big Bethel and Hampton, VA

Box 1, Folder 5

Lee, Robert E.

Box 1, Folder 6

Jackson, Lieutenant General T.J.

Box 1, Folder 7

The Seven Days

Box 1, Folder 8

The Peninsular Campaign

Box 1, Folder 9

The Peninsular Campaign

Box 2, Folder 1

The Peninsular Campaign

Box 2, Folder 2

The Peninsular Campaign

Box 2, Folder 3

The Peninsular Campaign

Box 2, Folder 4

At Newport, Rhode Island

Box 2, Folder 5

Brent, J. Lancaster/Fort Tegon/Military-General

Box 2, Folder 6

Craig, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis

Box 2, Folder 7


Box 3, Folder 1


Box 3, Folder 2

Friends and Associates

Box 3, Folder 3

At West Point

Box 3, Folder 4

In San Diego

Box 3, Folder 5


Box 4, Folder 1

War with Mexico

Box 4, Folder 2

Trans-Mississippi (Correspondence)

Box 4, Folder 3

Trans-Mississippi (Correspondence)

Box 4, Folder 4


Box 4, Folder 5

News Papers

Box 4, Folder 6


Box 5, Folder 1


Box 5, Folder 2


Box 5, Folder 3

Fort Jurupa

Box 5, Folder 4

At Fort Leavenworth

Box 5, Folder 5

In Washington

Box 5, Folder 6

Monitor and Merrimack

Box 5, Folder 7

Sabine Pass/Dowling

Box 5, Folder 8

In Mexico after Civil War with Maximillian

Box 5, Folder 9

Association with Quantrill

Box 5, Folder 10


Box 5, Folder 11


Box 6, Folder 1

Diaries and Correspondence

Box 6, Folder 2

Diaries and Correspondence

Box 6, Folder 3

Diaries and Correspondence

Box 6, Folder 4

Library and Historical Society Resources

Box 6, Folder 5

In San Diego

Box 6, Folder 6

General Sources and Contextual Research